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Old 10-08-2011, 09:23   #1
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Freedom on the Waters ?

I have read some forums about the various government guardians of US waterways and while I am not wanted by any law enforcement agency I'll obey all the laws, but I'm not one to be hasseled by some controll freak with aviator sun glasses. It's my opinion that if the boat is my home, they need a warrant to board, but I know my attitude is not reality. I mean really, if I were in an RV in a park they would need a warrant. It's something I want to avoid, gunk holing would be more of my thing.

I'm wondering too what goes on off shore too. Say you are headed to the Bahamas, do they stop everone out there at random to see who is leaving US waters? I know that you head to port authorities with your Visa in hand when getting to other countries and realise they don't give a hoot about American "freedoms" so I have no problem with that side of it.
Then on the way back in to the US, do you enter and just head to shore or what do you do to check in again? Are you required to file a "flight plan"? (I'd probably do that as a saftey measure anyway)

Heading to other countries, especially Mexico, I would never have weapons on board, trolling the inlands on the US, there woulld always be some on board, especially in the swamps.

So, what's the deal with these issues?
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:32   #2
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Re: Freedom on the waters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavewacker View Post
I have read some forums about the various government guardians of US waterways and while I am not wanted by any law enforcement agency I'll obey all the laws, but I'm not one to be hasseled by some controll freak with aviator sun glasses. It's my opinion that if the boat is my home, they need a warrant to board, but I know my attitude is not reality. I mean really, if I were in an RV in a park they would need a warrant. It's something I want to avoid, gunk holing would be more of my thing.

I'm wondering too what goes on off shore too. Say you are headed to the Bahamas, do they stop everone out there at random to see who is leaving US waters? I know that you head to port authorities with your Visa in hand when getting to other countries and realise they don't give a hoot about American "freedoms" so I have no problem with that side of it.
Then on the way back in to the US, do you enter and just head to shore or what do you do to check in again? Are you required to file a "flight plan"? (I'd probably do that as a saftey measure anyway)

Heading to other countries, especially Mexico, I would never have weapons on board, trolling the inlands on the US, there woulld always be some on board, especially in the swamps.

So, what's the deal with these issues?
A flare gun can make a very good weapon in an emergency ...
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:46   #3
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Re: Freedom on the waters?

Actually no big deal. Vessels are different from land vehicles and houses as there are ancient laws on the books dating from when various countries were trying to invade or take over the USA or interfere with the Civil War. These allow warrant-less searches of vessels in USA and international waters.
- - Whether the stopping of a vessel in international waters is legal under international law/convention is also moot as they simply do it based on "national security" or "drug interdiction."
- - It is normally a random occurrence unless you give the USCG cause to suspect you are just another ordinary cruiser. The USCG has priorities for vessel interdiction and it is normally drugs; illegal immigrants; etc. But if they are having a really slow day they will "practice" by boarding and inspecting you. It is an interesting experience and you should be always prepared with valid documents and required safety equipment. Then it is a quick and easy process.
- - Coming back into the USA is simply a matter of making yourself and boat available for inspection if the officials want to or just processing paperwork by phone or in person. There are numerous options/programs available to make the process easier which are discussed in other CF threads.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:50   #4
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Re: Freedom on the waters?

Well, yes, especially with a shotgun shell, I'm not meaning to sound confrontational, probably came across that way. Probably should have posted this in the regs section, where the is a similar thread going.

Just as with any stop, I'd be polite and would not be political or voice opinions as you can be right, even dead right, so my plan is avoidance when possible.

Wondering too, if some boats just call out, stop me, stop me...

I'm sure there are, the Formulas I'm sure would have problems at times. I'm thinking that a small, slow, low profile might get by better than fast and flashy.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:53   #5
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Re: Freedom on the waters?

Yes, after visiting another country you have to "check in" when you come back to the U.S. No, they don't just stop people randomly who are leaving the U.S. They are probably much less worried about people leaving than they are people coming in.

They do, sometimes, make random stops and safety checks. Be polite and friendly and you will almost always get the same back. Give them "attitude" and you will almost always get the same back.

And the "attitude" that they can give you includes holding you at gunpoint, slapping you into cuffs, and even impounding your boat if they want. Best to just remain polite and friendly. If you think your rights are being intruded upon, the time to argue the point is later, in court. Getting belligerent with men who have guns is almost always a dumb idea.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:54   #6
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavewacker View Post
I'm not one to be hasseled by some controll freak with aviator sun glasses. It's my opinion that if the boat is my home, they need a warrant to board,
Thats all right. You will change your attitude after a few days in jail, or after your boat has been confiscated.

On second thoughts, maybe that won't even change your attitude.

Theres plenty of anti-authoritarian dickheads cruising. Its funny to watch them always get their comeuppance in just about every port in the world



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Old 10-08-2011, 09:58   #7
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

Law enforcement has the right to board your boat without a search warrant even if it is your home. The Supreme Court has ruled so. I too disagree but those are the facts.

Giving the authorities a big hassle and showing them some attitude can make your boarding go from easy to very difficult. They have the upper hand and there is nothing we can do about it. You can't vote out Supreme Court justices.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:02   #8
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

A friend of mine was boarded 100 miles offshore and got a ticket because he was missing 1 fire ext.

The USCG came right up next to us at the edge of Cuban waters to tell us we could not enter.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:23   #9
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

Like MarkJ said
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:46   #10
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

In home waters, a sailboat that is motoring is much more likely to be boarded than a sailboat that is sailing.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:15   #11
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

Obviously, some people missed my post about being compliant. So far, the only time I would have questioned the officer would be as stated about entering Cuban waters. I believe the blockaid is over, wasn't that Kennedy? Roughly, it's my understanding that you can visit, filing documents to go but you just can't spend a penny while there.

Being an anti-authority type throwing a fit with the guy who finsihed high school with an automatic who thinks he is Rambo, is not advised, I have never done such a idiotic thing. That was not my point,but my "secret" attitude. If you are truly mistreated or any officer is intentionally rude for no reason, there are other steps that can be taken after the fact.

I would have a smile on my face and offer them a peace offering and squeze in as much friendly chit chat as I possibly could and talk about how rough they have it and how much I appreciate their service, etc. without sounding like I was mocking them or being a smart guy. They will certainly remember me for awhile and likely won't want to go through all that polite but time consuming interaction again.

Be that as it may, actually the CG was not that much of a concern as much as inland water patrol, deputies, the locals, some having real attitude problems and even mental health issues, I say that because I know some.

I probably should have made my point clearer in the beginning. On the lakes, I see guys bursting in figure eights trying to get airborne from wakes and they attract attention (and rightly so, IMO) staying on course at an acceptable speed for conditions won't be too alarming. I would imagine the same holds true off shore and for the IC areas.

The other issue was weapons on board. When stopped, they will ask if you have any weapons and I will say yes. Is that an excuse to go into the John Wyane attitude, draw the sidearm and board you?

We have some national forrest areas with rivers running through them and some WPs get a knot in their panties if you have a shotgun, some just say stay on the water and leave it in the boat, you just never know who you get.

I have been checked for compliance in my cuddy, I have never been boarded, just had to produce what they wanted, no problem. I have not ever been stopped in my kayak.

My opinions will never get me in trouble if I keep my mouth shut with anyone in person, until "they" can read my mind.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:23   #12
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

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Originally Posted by CharlesFCook View Post
A friend of mine was boarded 100 miles offshore and got a ticket because he was missing 1 fire ext.

The USCG came right up next to us at the edge of Cuban waters to tell us we could not enter.
LOL, what is the court that has jurisdiction for that ticket, the nearest federal court?

He should have told them he had to throw it in a shark's mouth that was attacking the boat!

Those are the kind of dinks I was talking about.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:32   #13
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

Violate the law, you get a ticket, SIMPLE
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:41   #14
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

some people just don't get it,better stay at home,and that way you will never be boarded......
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:59   #15
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Re: Freedom on the Waters ?

LMAO, how are some reading between the lines that aren't there? No, I don't stay home and I also don't have a problem with LEOs, just bullies and stupid ones, but that feeling prevails for all people equally, regardless of their profession, race, color, religion or national origin.

For those with constructive comments, thanks.

I'd say read posts 1, 4 and 11 again, but it's not that big of an issue. I didn't get to my age as a good citizen, never being arrested and never anything besides a few traffic tickets and holding several positions of authority myself by being confrontational with others or any authority figures....WTH?
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